The other day I stumbled across Timeline JS, a site that assists you in creating multimedia timelines. I found the site while searching for visual autobiography tools for my seniors but after assigning a short, paper, biographical timeline of John Steinbeck, I realized it would be a good project for my Honors American Literature 10th graders.
I suppose it is a bit similar to Prezi but it looks more like a traditional timeline running at the bottom and you control it in a more linear fashion. The website gives you a couple of different ways of compiling the data sets; we used the provided Google spreadsheet with our school district Google Apps accounts. Students were divided into two teams of about 15 students each with one group creating a timeline of the author and the other a timeline of the Great Depression; after appointing a team leader they began populating the spreadsheet with evidence from the web. I appreciate that it has places for students to credit the creators of the material rather than just copying and pasting links.
Here are the timelines : larissawright-elson.com Before the timelines were officially “done” I viewed each while running Screenr to give feedback to the students and have them make the necessary corrections. I posted the links to those videos here in case anyone is interested in how to give verbal/video/screencast recorded feedback.
I like the end result and the variety of media that the students chose to tell the story of their subject. I think this would also work well as a way of proving a thesis for a problem-based learning project or another multi-media assignment that benefits from being more linear in nature. Comparing and contrasting timelines of The Great Depression and The Great Recession perhaps? Students were a little thrown by how finicky editing a spreadsheet can be, but I thought they did a good job of finding evidence.